Acting P.M. calls for protection of wetlands

“Wetlands and Climate Change” was the theme of World Wetlands Day 2019 commemorated in Samoa on Thursday.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) spearheaded the local celebrations at the TATTE Building, Savalalo.

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of MNRE, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, was keynote speaking who also launched a number of wetland awareness materials.

“We have noticed and enjoyed these benefits from generation to generation but we still neglect the importance of wetlands due to unsustainable developments and carelessness,” she said.

Wetlands in Samoa include mangroves, coral reefs, floodplains, lakes and swamps that protect coastlines from extreme weather conditions.

The Minister said there has been so much negligence wastelands available have been viewed as dumping ground for waste and converted for other purposes.

Statistics show Samoa has lost 35% of wetlands since 1970. 

“Without it humanity is more vulnerable extreme weather conditions and natural disasters.” 

The Acting Prime Minister called on all individuals, communities to work with the Government to protect Samoa’s ecosystems.

“The Samoa Government has implemented plans to conserve and sustainably manage upland forests and protect water catchments areas to minimize impacts on lowland areas and marine biodiversity during raining seasons,” Fiame said.

She also congratulated the Youth Climate Action Network for Samoa (YCAN) for becoming the first youth group in the Pacific to be awarded the Ramsar Convention Award for Young Wetlands Champions.

“I would like to congratulate Y.C.A.N for their great achievements and encourage the youth to keep up the great effort,” Fiame said. “Young adults are the decision makers of the future.”

Samoa became an official member of the United Nations Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 2005. 

Every year in February celebrates Worlds Wetlands Day to raise global awareness about the importance to protect wetlands. 

The activities for the local celebration included a documentary, photo exhibition, wetland costume competition and tree planting at O Le Pupu Pu’e National Parks.

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